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Strengthening communication capacities
by Babacar Fall

Since its creation UNESCO has been assisting countries to strengthen their communication capacities in order not to weaken the strong but to reinforce the weak with the primary goal of making their voices heard and to participate more actively in issues that directly concern them. The community media projects in Africa helped to meet the communication aspirations of rural and often marginalised populations and in most cases contributed to the democratization processes of African countries.

The community radio stations in Asia have helped in bringing together often-marginalised rural and poor communities to articulate their needs and to ensure that their concerns are reflected in government policies. Our ‘Women Speaking to Women’ project is enabling women groups to take an active part in the media landscapes of their countries. The programme to assist countries produce their own culturally relevant programmes has had a resounding success and has led the Organisation to cooperate with bilateral and multilateral donors to support the programme. Our training activities continue to enjoy the support of communication practitioners worldwide. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all countries, governments and international institutions for supporting financially our communication activities. I also salute those media practitioners in developing countries who have responded dynamically to create, manage and operate these projects especially at grassroots level.

In the new issue of our Newsletter UNESCOMMUNICATION we give a brief on one of the most important Conferences to be organised by UNESCO in January: Sexual Abuse of Children, Child Pornography and Paedophilia on the Internet: An International Challenge. This conference will bring together over 300 hundred delegates who will analyze the issues involved in this area and suggest an international plan of action Considerable coverage is also given to our projects on community media, the endogenous audiovisual programme activities as well as our training activities in some parts of the world.

I would like to encourage our readers to visit our website that is constantly being updated to whom I also extend seasonal greetings and wish a Happy New Year 1999.

  Mr Babacar Fall is Director of UNESCO's Communication Division

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